Royal Central reported earlier this month that His Majesty King Harald approved a temporary Minister of Justice in Norway. This happened following the arrest of Minister of Justice, Tor Mikkel Wara’s partner, Laila Anita Bertheussen.
Bertheussen was arrested on suspicion of setting her family’s car on fire. She was also being investigated over several other incidents, over the past four months, in which the home she and Tor Mikkel Wara share has been targeted.
On Thursday this week, Norwegian police charged the Minister’s partner for all the threats directed at Wara since December 2018. She was also charged with sending a threatening letter to her husband’s colleague, Minister Ingvil Smines Tybring-Gjedde.
Because of this, Wara wanted to immediately resign as Minister of Justice, and Prime Minister Erna Solberg accepted the decision. It is usually His Majesty the King who accepts such a decision; however, he and Queen Sonja are on a state visit to Chile this week and will not return to Norway until the end of next week. In the King’s absence, it is Crown Prince Haakon who is Norway’s regent. Therefore, he received Wara’s resigantion on behalf of his father at the Royal Palace in Oslo today in an ordinary Council of State.
It is the Minister of Transport and Communications, Jon Georg Dale who has temporarily taken over the responsibility for the justice and immigration cases in the Ministry of Justice and Emergency. A new permanent minister will not be appointed until King Harald returns to Norway.
It was in April 2018 that King Harald appointed Tor Mikkel Wara as Justice, Preparedness and Immigration Minister in Erna Solberg’s government. In January of this year, the King approved changes in the government in an extraordinary Council of State. Then, Minister Wara lost his responsibility for emergency preparedness and was granted the title of Justice and Immigration Minister following an expansion of the government.
The Council of State in Norway is a formal body composed of the most senior government ministers chosen by the Prime Minister, and it functions as the collective decision-making organ constituting the executive branch of the Kingdom of Norway.
With the exception of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who retain their ministerial ranking in their own right, all the other members of the Cabinet concurrently hold the position of “statsråd”, meaning Councillor of State, and that of Chief of the various departments. They are not formally considered ‘ministers’, although they are commonly addressed as such. The Cabinet normally convenes every week, usually on Fridays at 11:00 a.m. at the Royal Palace, Oslo, and is presided over by the monarch.